The best free family days out in Leeds in summer 2024

Discover the best free and low-cost activities and days out in the Leeds area, perfect for families and children.

4th June 2024

Are you looking for fun, free or lost-cost days out for the family in Leeds? At Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm, we’re lucky to be based in a wonderfully family-friendly city with a wealth of great things to do for kids and adults alike. Keep reading for some of our favourite ideas for Leeds days out that will educate, inspire and entertain the whole family – without breaking the bank.


Picnic at Temple Newsam Grounds

For a day out in a beautiful setting within the city, Temple Newsam is the ideal location. Temple Newsam House was built back in the early 1500s and is placed at the centre of wonderful, sprawling grounds. The grounds are free to explore and features the park, lakes, woods, gardens and a maze. In warm weather, Temple Newsam makes the perfect picnic spot. The grounds are free to enjoy, and the house and farm have an entry free. A family ticket to the Home Farm is £13.

Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam Road, Leeds, LS15 0AE

Explore the Royal Armouries

Leeds Royal Armouries

If you’re looking for a fun history lesson with your family day out, look no further than Leeds Royal Armouries. This world-class museum is home to the UK’s national collection of arms and armour, and it’s completely free to visit. Kids will be fascinated by over 4,500 objects that tell the story of how armour has shaped society throughout history. Must-sees include the 16th-century elephant armour and tusk swords, and Henry VIII’s foot combat armour.

Leeds Royal Armouries website
Armouries Dr, Leeds LS10 1LT

Take a walk in Roundhay Park

Aerial photo of Roundhay Park, Leeds

Did you know Leeds boasts one of the largest urban parks in Europe? Roundhay Park is a sprawling green space with over 700 acres of natural beauty, from lakes and open parkland to woodlands, where kids can happily run around and burn off energy. There are also playgrounds, castle ruins and walking trails to discover. Parking is free, so you can easily spend a day exploring without spending a penny.

Roundhay Park website
Mansion Ln, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 2HH

Visit Leeds City Museum

Leeds City Museum

Free to enter, Leeds City Museum is a great choice for a fun-filled day out for families. Spend your time exploring the six galleries spread out across four floors, learning all about the history and people of Leeds. There are plenty of interactive displays, hands-on activities and fascinating exhibits to keep little ones entertained. Don’t miss the iconic Leeds Tiger, a 19th-century Bengal tiger who has been in the city for over 150 years.

Leeds City Museum website
Millennium Square, Leeds LS2 8BH

Go for a bike ride at Leeds Urban Bike Park

Child riding a bike in the woods

With trails to suit all ages and abilities, including a contained area for small children, Leeds Urban Bike Park is a fantastic place for kids to practice their bike-riding skills. It’s set in leafy Middleton Park where you’ll also find a playground, lake and wildlife trails – perfect for a full day out. No booking is needed at the bike park, and the park itself and car park are totally free, so just turn up and ride! Bike hire is available at an additional cost.

Leeds Urban Bike Park website
Middleton Park, Ring Rd, Leeds LS10 3TN


Wander along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal covers a distance of 127 miles and crosses the Pennines to reach the West of the country. While it would take an estimated two weeks to walk the full distance, walking shorter stretches of it is a lovely summer’s day pursuit. You could join in the city centre and walk out to the suburbs, or do it the other way around. The canal is tracked by a tow path, suitable for walking and cycling. There is plenty of nature to soak up, like ducks, herons and other bird and inspect life, and the canal is lovely and peaceful. Kids enjoy exploring the locks and spotting the canal boats as they pass by.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Visit Otley Chevin Forest Park

One of the finest areas of natural beauty in the Leeds area, Otley Chevin Forest Park is a fabulous day out for families who want to surround themselves with stunning countryside. There’s a wide range of walking routes to take your pick from, many of which are dotted with interesting rock formations and sculptures made by local artists. Make sure you check out ‘Surprise View’ where you’ll be met with spectacular panoramic views across the Wharfe Valley.

Otley Chevin Forest Park website
Chevin Forest Park LS21 3DD

Harewood House

Harewood House Grounds Walk

This local stately home and estate is packed full of opportunities for family fun. While the house and gardens are paying entry, there are around 1,000 acres of parks to explore, with much of this accessible for free. There is a circular public footpath walk around the grounds, which is just short of 5 miles. The walk takes you around the estate, including farmland, woodland, and incredible views. Harewood is home to deer, which you’ll be able to spot grazing amongst the natural beauty.

Harewood House

Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds LS17 9LG

Step back in time at Kirkstall Abbey

Kirkstall Abbey Leeds

Established all the way back in 1152, Kirkstall Abbey is one of the best-preserved medieval monasteries in the country. The beautiful abbey ruins are great for curious-minded kids to explore, and they’ll have the chance to learn about the area’s history along the way. If you want to explore further afield, there’s a wonderful neighbouring riverside park where you can take a stroll. The abbey’s grounds are filled with perfect picnic spots too.

Kirkstall Abbey website
Abbey Rd, Kirkstall, Leeds LS5 3EH

Explore the collections at Leeds Art Gallery

Outside shot of Leeds City Art Gallery

Conveniently located in the heart of the city centre, Leeds Art Gallery is a lovely spot for families to spend an afternoon. There’s a significant collection of British art here, ranging from classic Victorian paintings to impressive sculptures. Families with younger children might want to head to the upper galleries, where the colourful modern pieces are great for introducing kids to the world of art. The best part? It’s completely free to visit.

Leeds Art Gallery website
The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AA

See the animals at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Alpaca at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, Leeds

Who’d have thought you only have to head a couple of miles out of the city centre for a good old-fashioned day at the farm? Spread across 24 acres, Meanwood Valley Urban Farm is home to animals from fluffy rabbits and guinea pigs to pigs, sheep and alpacas. It’s a registered charity with a real community feel; keep an eye out for events including sing and sign classes and forest play sessions. Parking is free, and admission is free for under 2’s and just 50p for a child. An adult’s ticket is £2.50.

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm
Sugar Well Rd, Meanwood, Leeds LS7 2QG


Bird watch at St Aiden’s Nature Reserve

Located 8 miles from the centre of Leeds, St Aidan’s is a place of stunning natural beauty. The reserve is home to native wildlife and birds, including Grebes, Little Owls, Kestrels, Black-headed Gulls and Lapwings. St Aiden’s is family friendly, and wheelchair and pushchair accessible. Following the nature walks and soaking up the beautiful scenery makes the perfect relaxing afternoon. There’s a picnic area and you can even hire binoculars to up your bird-watching game!

St Aiden’s Nature Reserve

St Aidan’s Nature Park, Astley Lane, West Yorkshire, LS26 8AL

Step into a story at your local library

Child looking at books at a children's library

Nurture a thirst for knowledge in your kids by introducing them to the joys of reading. Joining your local library is a great way to meet other parents while helping your kids develop their reading, story-telling and language skills. All Leeds libraries are completely free – it’s free to join, free to borrow books (they don’t even charge late fees), and there are plenty of free events, workshops and activities too.

Leeds libraries
Various locations throughout Leeds

Leeds Kirkgate Market

Leeds Kirkgate Market

The beloved Leeds Market has expanded in recent years to include a food court and lots of fun, free activities for families. This summer, they have free activities including table tennis, crafts and colouring, Lego and DUPLO building tables, and other large scale games. Over the summer school holidays, there are workshops including den building, hip hop dance and circus skills! Kids can play while parents and carers get a delicious bite to eat.

Leeds Kirkgate Market – What’s on

Vicar Lane, Leeds City Centre LS2 7HY

We hope you were inspired by these ideas for free and low-cost family days out in Leeds. At Leeds Children’s Charity at Lineham Farm, we’re dedicated to brightening the lives of disadvantaged children. By providing respite breaks at Lineham Farm, we can ensure local young people experience childhood as it should be – filled with adventure, fun and learning.

Your generous donations ensure we can continue providing a safe and special place for children. If you’d like to find out more about how to help, please visit our ’ways to give’ page.